Defending the Domestic Purposes Benefit

April 6, 2012

This article was contributed to The Spark by Jessica Ward

The Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB) was fought for by our mothers and grandmothers. Before the introduction of the DPB women raising children were entirely financially dependent on a partner. Women in abusive relationships that wanted to leave their husband would be forced to also leave their children. The DBP was formed through Social Security Amendment Act in 1973 with the first payments starting in May of 1974. The DPB was originally set at a level that enabled solo mums to care for their children as a full time job without having to enter the work-force. Unfortunately now this is not the case. National’s proposed benefit cuts mean mothers on the DBP will be required to start looking for part time work when their child turns 3 and full time work once their child turns 6. Read the rest of this entry »

Movie review: The Hunger Games

April 5, 2012

Ian Anderson

While far-right US commentators target venom at “Marxist” childrens’ films including The Muppets and The Lorax, number one blockbuster The Hunger Games should cause them more concern.

Adapted from a young-adult series by Suzanne Collins, the film portrays a dystopian future in which kids are sent to fight each-other to the death, as a reminder of the Capitol’s power. Collins says the original book series was inspired by channel-surfing between coverage of the Iraq war and reality television: “I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way.” This narrative, of young adults co-opted into a showcase that destroys many of its ‘heroes,’ could be extended into many areas; the sports industry, the record industry, or the Hollywood studio system which produced this adaptation. Read the rest of this entry »

Why have women left the Occupy movement?

April 4, 2012

Byron Clark, Coordinating editor of The Spark

The Occupy movement began as a movement championing the “99%” united against the 1% of the world’s population that control a disproportionate amount the worlds wealth. A possible flaw in this is that oppression is not as simple as a 99:1 ratio and exists within the working class and even within social movements. A movement that saw an even gender balance when it arrived in New Zealand last October saw the number of women involved dwindle to just a hand full. The Spark asked women currently or previously involved in the movement why they thought so many women left. Their responses are printed here. Some names have been changed for privacy reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Green Left Weekly: Wharfies beat lockout

April 2, 2012

This article by Workers Party member Joel Cosgrove originally appeared in Green Left Weekly.

In what has been described as New Zealand’s most high-profile and bitter industrial dispute since the early 1990s, waterside workers went back to work, after a four-week strike. Auckland’s port company agreed to end its lockout of 235 workers on March 30, and pay workers a week’s wages for being illegally locked out.

The New Zealand Herald reported that Maritime Union president Garry Parsloe told a huge workers’ meeting: “You’ll all go back to your jobs and until you go back you’ll all get paid.

“Everything we have done has fallen into place, thanks to your solidarity.” Read the rest of this entry »

Meat industry dispute reveals need to re-organise entire working class on militant basis

April 2, 2012

By writers for The Spark

The livelihoods of thousands of working class people in New Zealand are being attacked by Talleys Group Ltd, a New Zealand-based private company which owns AFFCO meat-processing plants and has locked out freezing workers throughout the North Island.


As one of the largest meat operations in New Zealand, Talleys operates nine AFFCO freezing works plants. For decades AFFCO has been a source of employment in provincial areas and the workforce is often generational. Through generations of genuine rank-and-file unionism, freezing workers in AFFCO as well as other plants owned by other meat processing companies were able to achieve relatively strong wages and conditions by comparison to other industries.

On Febraury 29 the company locked out of over 700 workers which led to the beginning of picketing on March 2 at the Moerewa (in Northland), Wiri (in South Auckland), Horotiu (in North Waikato), Rangiuru (near Te Puke), Hawkes Bay (at Napier), and Manawatu (at Fielding), and Wairoa (in Northern Hawkes Bay) plants. On March 2 the union correctly called all members who were not locked-out into strike action. In turn the company then began locking-out strikers who were not covered by the original lockout notices, for example, a further 200 more workers were locked-out at Rangiuru. The union then called further 24-hour and 48-hour strikes including those which started on March 6, March 12, and March 22. Daily pickets are taking place at some plants. Read the rest of this entry »


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